Don’t Make Assumptions

How do you think your kids will get along once you are out of the picture? Ok, I hear you saying that your kids all like each other, and Thanksgivings are always fun. Keep in mind, that when “the time comes” things may be very different for your adult children.

If you have one child living with you, to “help out”, this arrangement may already be testing the boundaries of their sibling relationships. If you have loaned or given money to some, but not all, of your children, there could be hard feelings when your checkbook is managed by one of those same adult kids. Maybe you have given money to all of your children, and you have been as fair as possible, there may still be underlying conflict the kids don’t tell you about.

Your children, who are also your beneficiaries, have a natural conflict of interest when they are managing your money for your benefit, and they are aware that they will be inheriting what is left. Your kids may be able to work well together, or they may fight, but you just don’t know how this will play in terms of your needs being met. The kids themselves might get along great, but their spouses may not be willing to let go of old grudges. Whatever you know about your family, please share your family quirks and challenges with your estate planning attorney.

Estate planning is not about predicting the future, as much as it is about setting down your preferences, and designing a plan which can weather emotional storms. If you decide to name family members to serve you, please give them a chance at being successful by suggesting they study up on the job. We offer “Ethics for Trustees 2.0” as a great starting point.

Marguerite Lorenz, CTFA, CLPF is a Master Trustee and a Managing Partner at Lorenz Private Trustees ( and has served as a Trustee and Executor since 2003.

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